Even today, many people still equate shounen with an anime (or manga), which only has great battles and superpowers.
On the other hand, it is misunderstood as any series that focuses on dark, violent or psychological themes – but this is completely false.
This is any work marketed primarily to older teens (compared to shounen teens) and adult males.
Such an anime series can be purple or full of sweetness and kindness.
There are a lot of great characters in the anime. But the following characters are my all-time favorites.
Anime: Hellsing – predictable
I meant that “Saines” is not always about dark and violent stories.
But Hellsing Ultimate has such a great MC. In a world where evil rages and ruthlessly seeks to destroy humanity, the vampire becomes the ultimate weapon of hope.
Alucard is no ordinary vampire (or evil protagonist):
Also known as the Impaler and Son of the Devil, he is considered the strongest vampire in the world – and no one in the series can match his strength.
He is tough, but he also has a vulnerable side.
Indeed, his character is so iconic that the MMORPG I includes special gear inspired by his appearance, including orange sunglasses.
14. shotaro kaneda
Nowadays, people learn the lines “Tetsuo” and “Kaneda” before they have seen the legendary 1988 film from which they are derived.
Akira plays the role of Shotaro Kaneda, the leader of the Capsule Gang, a notorious group in Neo-Tokyo that constantly deals with clowns.
But it’s not just about the activities of Kaneda’s gang and his motorcycle (which has been part of pop culture for decades).
The film shows how much he values loyalty and the important people in his life, that he is not just a proud, courageous and often reckless teenager.
13 Arsene Lupin III
Anime: Lupin III
Lupin III is one of the oldest and most prolific Seine franchises in anime.
It came out in 1971, so we’re moving up the last 50 years.
So, what’s so great about Arsene Lupin III?
He is the greatest gentleman thief.
Lupin III often seems to not know what to do, but that only belies his brilliant nature. He is always on the lookout for all kinds of gadgets and scientific knowledge to stop truly violent and horrible criminals.
of course he is always in trouble because of his attraction to the Fujiko mine, but that is really his only major weakness.
12) Shinichi Izumi
Anime: Maximum Parasite.
Madhouse is not currently the most in-demand studio for action-packed anime films. Seven years ago, however, the studio surprised with Parasyte, whose original material dates back to 1989.
The main character is Shinichi Izumi, a 16-year-old boy who is targeted by Miga.
Unfortunately for the parasitic alien, it could not fully overtake Shinichi, leading to an unusual path of coexistence.
Sinichi has developed his character so much in 24 episodes that I would say it is one of the best developments ever.
If you’re looking for an MC who can show both character and the ability to defeat deadly alien enemies while also tackling philosophical issues, Shinichi is the man for you.
Anime: Hozuki Cold Head
The series itself was inconsistent in its production. Studio White adapted the first season, but Studio Dane and Pine Jam and OVA appeared in the second season.
Still, Hozuki always had fun.
Who knew that an assistant to the King of Hell could be so interesting?
Hoozuki is a slim, sadistic and relatively attractive creature. His spirit is unsurpassed in hell – the authority figures he taunts develop a fear of him, Hoozuki.
Although he can be violent (physically and mentally), Hozuki loves animals, is a gentleman and a very reliable negotiator.
10th Kaguya Shinomiya
Anime: Kaguya-sama: Love is War
Kaguya-sama: Love is War is considered one of the three new anime greats alongside Re:Zero and Attack on Titan – and the female MC is the main reason for that.
As vice president of the student council, Kaguya Shinomiya is very popular among the students. the same goes for SC president Miyuki Shirogane. Everyone thinks they are the perfect couple.
But there is one problem:
They’re not a couple yet, and Kaguya won’t go out with Miyuki unless he confesses first.
I love the way the show portrays her complex thought process (sometimes through the trials and tribulations that go on in her head), and it’s fun to watch Kaguya become more confident and accept what she feels.
The fact that his first appearance dates back to 2006 in an anime called Ayakashi: Japanese Classic Horror, is a highlight of Kusuriuri (or medicine seller).
But if you really want to get to know him better, watch Mononoke.
In the series you will see how different he is – even compared to other anime characters.
Only his design is different: pale white skin, a hint of purple on the lips, a tea tree kimono, a golden amulet and bright blue eyes.
Mononoke does not show the full story of the protagonist, which is ironic since Kusuriuri must thoroughly investigate the nature and essence of Mononoke before he can exorcise her with his sword.
As if that weren’t cool enough, the normally calm Kusriuri can transform into an intimidating creature in a kimono of white and gold.
He also owns a collection of feudal erotic art for which he is ashamed.
There are other anime characters who are synonymous with despair and misery: Shinji, Eren and Subaru are boys who live a life of pain and regret.
That said, I’m sure many Berserk fans will argue that Guts wins the Desperation MC content by a distance.
The lackluster CGI ruined the potential of the 2016 adaptation of Berserk, but even then Guts remained a formidable warrior and protagonist.
Like Akira and Lupin III, he is one of Seinen’s most popular MCs – and the best part is that his journey is far from over.
This muscular, complex and cynical, but compassionate man deserves attention and admiration.
7) Jean Otus
Anime: Unit 13 of the Territorial Inspection.
In 2017, Madhouse released its adaptation of ACCA, an anime that barely caught the attention of the general anime community – but it was something for fans like me.
Jean Otus, with his alluring blue eyes, exudes freshness and mystery.
Thanks to the color palette, background graphics and consistent animation quality, Jean is a joy to watch, even if he only looks into the distance and occasionally catches fire, which really makes a difference in the story.
And I’m a big fan of his character designs.
It’s rare to see a protagonist like him in an anime. Someone who plays the role of protagonist well, but who doesn’t desperately cling to it.
6) Renge Miyauchi
Anime: Non Biori
If they tell you that the Seine is the dark side of life, point to Non Non Biyori, one of the best Seine of all time, and her MC is the ultra handsome little girl Renge.
The anime proves that even young adult men need a show to relax and escape from work, school or family.
Renge is an ordinary child living in a Japanese village.
And sometimes you deserve to be reminded of the more peaceful days. Your childhood, when the world was big and you were interested in everything.
By the way, Range helps me remember that getting older doesn’t mean losing the wonders of childhood. Maybe this life is even better if you can still enjoy the little sweet moments and the ordinary things.
5) Satoru Fujinuma
A-1 Pictures began an adaptation of ERASED in 2016.
The way the first episode changed format towards the end left everyone impatiently waiting for the next episode – and Satoru Fujinuma is a very inspiring person.
Whether in the present or in the past, he has always tried to help others (fortunately others do the same for him).
ERASED contains two of my favorite emotional moments in the anime, and both Satoru moves choose to see injustice and fight it rather than close their eyes.
His life probably didn’t turn out the way he wanted. But I’m sure he’s happy with his choices.
4. Johan Libert
Yes, the main antagonist of Madhouse’s 74-episode masterpiece is one of the best characters in Seinen history.
Johan Libert is indeed a monster. Someone who represents the evil that humanity is capable of.
I don’t think Monster would be as entertaining without a well-written villain like him.
One cannot help but be impressed (and frightened) by his devious and malicious ways – Johan is a master of manipulation.
He is the embodiment of nihilism, conveniently hidden behind his charismatic and flamboyant facade. I know the show is old and hard to find, but the mere presence of Johannes Liebert is a good reason to seek out Monster.
3. Motoko Kusanagi
Anime: Ghost in the shell
Of all the “classic” characters in his anime (i.e. those from the old series), Motoko Kusanagi is my favorite.
Like Akira, she comes quickly to your mind when we talk about Ghost in the Shell.
Major Matoko is a unique cyborg, with very high marks for hacking, physical combat and leadership. Because of her fully cybernetic form and the underworld she finds herself in, she also struggles with the nature of life, identity and meaning.
Of course, Netflix’s ONA CGI took over 3DCGI last year, somewhat losing the luster of the best ….GitS editions, but it’s good to know that the franchise is alive and well – with Motoko still at the helm.
2. Ray Kiriyama
Anime: March Comes Like A Lion
March Comes in Like a Lion was only released in 2017. But these 44 episodes (at the time of writing) showed how extraordinary Rei Kirimiyama is as a fully realized human being, and not just a fictional two-dimensional type.
Thanks to Shaft’s excellent documentation and animation, Rei’s inner struggles and profound life experiences are respectfully depicted.
He is an imperfect man, and it is so moving (and sometimes heartbreaking) to watch him struggle against the current of childhood trauma, social isolation and pessimism. Difficult as it is.
Ray made me think about my own problems and I can’t thank him enough for that.
Finally, Ginko tops my list of invisible heroes.
Like Non Biyori, Mushishi is a series of cut Iyashikei Borst – except that it contains supernatural and mysterious elements.
Like Renge, Ginko serves as a guide to life for the viewer.
But rather than just celebrating the wonders of childhood and comforting everyday life, the goal is more philosophical.
Through the adventures of Ginko, trying to decipher the nature of the various mushi, the viewer also begins to think about existence, human existence in relation to other forms of life. And more generally, to consider nature and the universe.
Ginko is a kind of mediator between humanity and the Mushi.
And each episode makes you think about the fundamental need of every living thing to survive and coexist in an ever-changing world.
I love his relaxed personality and his underlying intelligence and empathy.
He is unique, just like everyone else – and it is a nice feeling to be something special and unusual at the same time.
Frequently asked questions
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